IT'S BEEN a long five months for the Bolton family after their Greenhills Caravan Park business was extensively damaged during the March floods.
But after battling with insurance companies, supporting displaced caravan owners and coming to terms with the passing of one of their on-site residents who died during the flood, Graeme Bolton was finally able to reopen the gates to his South Murwillumbah caravan park last weekend.
Celebrating their 10-year anniversary of owning the park, Mr Bolton said it was a relief to have the gates finally re-open.
"It's the first time we've been able to put money in the bank in five-and-a-half months,” Mr Bolton said.
"It felt good to have a bit of noise in the park.
"We cleaned it up because it was a mess and it's taken a fair bit to clean it up.
"The main thing is that we're up and running and we've had a few (come in).”
Philip Duncan, a grey nomad who decided to stay at Greenhills Caravan Park after the flood damaged his camper bus, said he wanted to help the park operators get back on their feet, which included an extensive resubmission to council.
"To have the whole park's development application resubmitted to meet new guidelines as a result of the flood, I think shows the Boltons were working very well with council to protect the people,” Mr Duncan said.
"The new application that was put through council met the requirements of council's review of development needs within the area because of the floods.
"The park was possibly the only venue that had to go through that process.
"I see the Boltons as role models.”
Mr Duncan said he would forever admire the Boltons' commitment to the park and its occupants, especially during the floods.
"The night of the flooding when we were all here, Graeme and Jan were protecting their extended family and I don't think there's any greater representation of the modern day family, which isn't necessarily blood related,” Mr Duncan said.
"There were 50 of us up there and Graeme and Jan were the last to leave the park to make sure everyone was safe.
"Having been here for nine months, I've seen the sense of hope in the Murwillumbah area to have (this park) reopened again because there's been a lot of a sense of abandonment, strife and grief and it seems like this community can just pull together in the sign of adversity.”